This is At the Buzzer’s countdown of the best 25 comedies of all-time. Our panel of 10 cast their votes, and we’re revealing the results one by one until we get to No. 1 on Tuesday, May 10.
And now, our number 17:
17) Blazing Saddles (4 votes, 144 points)
I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.
…Could you repeat that, sir?
Chris: One of the prevailing types of comedies — and one that has already been featured multiple times on this list, with more to come — is the parody. Some films get a lot of mileage out of taking a genre or motif and breaking it down to the point of ridiculousness. Sometimes the satire is an homage to that source material, and other times it exposes it for how dumb it can be.
Blazing Saddles doesn’t really care where you categorize it. It’s off the rails crazy from beginning to end — especially the fourth-wall-destroying ending, which is one of the more absurd scenes in movie history.
Although Mel Brooks had found critical success with earlier work like The Producers, this was his first offering that really made it big. I already mentioned how much I love Gene Wilder, and Slim Pickens is surprisingly fun here as well.
But what really interests me about Blazing Saddles is its content. As Cary mentions below, it’s difficult to see this movie ever being green-lit in today’s hyper-politically correct society, between its use of the N word and brash, vulgar repartee. Hell, some people would probably be offended by a horse getting decked in the face. As it stands, Blazing Saddles endures as an interesting snapshot of an era and a damn funny movie to boot.
Cary: “Mongo only pawn…in game of life.” God, I love this movie. Never in this modern age could a movie like Blazing Saddles be made. And if you look at it only through the lens of today’s socially sensitive and ultra-inclusive beliefs, then Blazing Saddles could be about as profane as it gets. But holy s*** if it doesn’t tackle issues that still plague us today, from race relations to drug use. Okay, sure, it’s done rather irreverently in that special, comedic way that only Mel Brooks can achieve, but the point is that it’s done. There no dicking around with what it means when an African American sheriff get put in charge of a fully Caucasian town. The results are horrible and spectacular and laugh-out-loud funny. Also, more Madeline Kahn. Always more Madeline Kahn.
PREVIOUS TOP 25s: